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2007 Military Kids Event A Huge Success


Mike Clifford
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It's hard to put into words the pride and effort exhibited by our members today at the Sgt. Thomas M. Gilbert Kids Fishing Event.

These guys wore their hearts on their sleeves all day on a very hot day at Herrick Lake and really worked hard to make sure all of the kids would have a day they wouldn't soon forget.

 

I have never been more proud to be a member of the ISA than I am today.

The sheer numbers of volunteers and people involved since we first started planning this event 7 months ago, until it all unfolded today, made this a remarkable feat in itself.

Yet, on a day when emotions ran high, we all took to the stage that was set and performed at a level that showed the rest of the world what the power of unity and dedication can achieve.

 

We can't forget the reason we were here, however.

All gave some...but sadly some gave all.

 

A truly remarkable achievement thanks to the work of so many.

Pat yourselves on the back, guys.

You all deserve it.

 

A few photos for now.

Video slideshow to follow soon.

 

(Please feel free to add your photos in this thread if you have them!)

 

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Guest rich mc

it was probably the most well run, first time event i have been at. our area was well covered and everyone did their best. hats off to all. a soldier is smiling in heaven tonight. rich

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Well done!! "It's not how much life you live but how much you live your life" I may have hacked that quote up a bit but the thought is there. Thanks for a great turn out and excellent job by all the volunteers. I have a feeling this event will grow bigger every year.

 

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Jim J is given a t-shirt to cheer him up after missing the target ;)

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it was probably the most well run, first time event i have been at. our area was well covered and everyone did their best. hats off to all. a soldier is smiling in heaven tonight. rich

wow. that last line says it all rich. great job mike. happy to have been a small part of today. ChrisB

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The video is complete.

 

A meeting back in February at the ISA Blowout is when all of this began, and I didn't know the Gilbert family at the time. I can say now that I've made some friends for life, and memories that will never be forgotten.

There is definitely a soldier smiling in Heaven tonight.

 

This one's for you, Tommy.

 

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Here is your list of ISA volunteers that made it possible:

 

John Loebach

Steve Spizewski

Bill Chase

Jim Jozwiak

Pat Hirschtick

Ed Buric

Jude Torre

Steve Jordan

Matt Kunath

Ed Loch

Jim Mullany

Rich McElligott

Don Rego

Chris Barnes

Alan Kwik

Dan Basore

 

A first class crew if I ever saw one.

THANK YOU

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Mike,

I've never experienced anything quite like yesterday....and can't wait until next year. I would do that every day of the week to come away with the "feeling" I did. My part seemed so minute, yet I left there feeling soooo good. Thank you for that.

 

I wanted you to know that every person I talked to kept saying what a "WONDERFUL & FUN" event it was, and a real tribute to a very special young man and the men and women serving our country. You and the others that made this happen are Tommy's Angels on earth and should be SO proud of what you all did. It's a real honor to be associated with people like you and the great people (okay Guys) of ISA. Best move I ever made joining this organization.

 

One more thing. I absolutely loved your youtube video. Great job and perfect song again. In the video, there was one picture of a little boy on a structural pylon fishing. For me it depicted what the whole day was about. Would it be possible to get a copy (digital is fine) of that picture? I would like to have it as a reminder of a very rewarding, fulfilling.... enjoyable day. The video would be great too, I could put it in my favorites, and use it when I need to moisture my dry eyes.

 

Thanks again,

Pat

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Actually, it is an honor to have such great people on our "team".

No problem at all on the photo and video.

I'll email.

 

The video is quite large to store on your computer, but it will be on YouTube for as long as they exist. Maybe save it in your favorite links.

If you'd like me to email it though, let me know.

 

To understand more about why we do what we do, I was compelled to compose a little rant in the conservation forum today under "Is our sport in trouble"...page 2 of the thread.

That is about the best way I can describe the feeling.

 

To be honest, my eyes haven't been dry all weekend.

It was the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of and it still tugs at my heart.

The Marine in uniform in those pictures is my nephew, and he is going to be deployed before long- so it hits home.

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Mike, do you live in front of your computer? Very moving video.

 

As a matter of fact, anyone that knows me well (my entire family included) would say that I do.

I can't say exactly what it is, but something about this event in particular has changed me a little bit as a person.

Paying more attention to my kids and less time at the computer is something I should have done long ago, but better late than never. I can't really explain it, but this event was a big part of my life for the last 7 months for many reasons....though I have absolutely no regrets.

We sometimes get caught up in the moment(s) when trying to embrace every kid that has never enjoyed our sport, and forget about the one's closest to us that need us more.

Shine the light on yourselves....it wouldn't have happened without all of you.

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Guys -

 

Thanks to all that participated in this event.

 

All I can say is that I am very proud of the ISA for being a part of this event.

 

I am not very proud of my own lack of attendance at this event. Mike, please count me in next year. Sorry I did not make it this year. I am an idiot and did not keep up with what has been going on.

 

Tom Gilbert parent's home is a couple of blocks from my house. I remember reading about him and thinking of all of the strange things we had in common. I should have been there. Joz had even mentioned something about it to me but I was not paying enough attention.

 

Thanks again -

Randy

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Don't beat yourself up over it, Randy! As far as I could tell, we weren't the least bit short handed. You just missed out on some good fun. We'll see you there next year. In the meantime, keep an eye on the calendar for upcoming projects. Volunteer for a couple and we might forgive you. ;)

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From Mike Gilbert, Sgt. Thomas M. Gilbert's father, comes this-

 

For those that might be interested…

 

 

 

Last April, Terri and I were contacted by the people at Discovery Channel which also runs the Military Channel. The call was about a presentation they were creating to honor the fallen service men and women from the Iraq war. At that time I was very skeptical regarding the content and sensitive about the political side of this war which I have totally avoided. I was however pleased to find out after much discussion that this was about the loss felt by the families of our fallen soldiers and Marines with no political overtones at all. They “want the world to see” what it really costs and what the world has really lost in these young people.

 

 

 

While we were in Washington DC in May, I was asked to do a taping for this show. It was an interesting experience but a tough subject. The whole thing took a few hours at the Doubletree hotel while the taped interview I did with them lasted about 45 minutes and we talked about Tommy, his youth, his family and his dreams. Thankfully, they did makeup and tried to make me look better but they had such a tough task. Don’t expect an Oscar winning performance but then…. Anyway, the interview was successful and they did in fact highlight it in the final cut. We also provide the people at Discovery a great many pictures and clips of Tommy while they were producing this.

 

 

 

This Saturday, August 25th at 10PM EST (9PM locally) the whole piece, commercial free, will air. We have seen clips of it and in fact there are commercials for it running all the time on the Military Channel right now. One of the commercials shows Tommy with all of his cousins at his Uncle Dave’s house just a few days before he left. In another commercial, you here my voice and see pictures of Tommy. The show will be hard to watch at times as it really hits home and yet it is enlightening. Either way, I recommend it and hope you all get a chance to watch it. If you don’t have access to the Military Channel and can’t find someone who can tape it for you, we will have DVD’s of it shortly after it air’s this Saturday night. Let us know and we’ll try to send one to you.

 

 

 

This isn’t rally to drum up views but I know that if I didn’t send out a note about it I would hear “why didn’t you tell me” from a bunch of people so here it is. Feel free to pass this on if you wish.

 

 

 

Let me know what you think if you do see it.

 

 

 

Mike Gilbert

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  • 10 months later...

I thought I'd bring this thread back to the top to ask all that participated last year to please consider helping out again this year, and to convince others to come out for a great time.

 

August 9th is the date, Herrick Lake the place once again.

 

Some things have changed, but the song remains the same.

200 kids are the goal once again.

We're helping to sponsor one of the most significant fishing events in Illinois, while hopefully teaching the next generation what it means to cast, fish and enjoy the great outdoors with an eye towards conserving it.

 

ISA Member Dan Basore is returning with his Antique Lure collection for display.

Subway is providing the lunch this year.

Eli's Cheesecake the dessert.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to give remarks.

"The River" radio spinning tunes all day.

Too many sponsors to mention here.

Once again a major media presence will be on hand.

 

More fishing, casting, fun and games for children of military, and we just might squeeze in an open call for the general public to help us celebrate on this special day.

 

I'm proud to be a part of both the ISA and "Sgt. Tommy's Kids" as we prepare to put on one heck of a show for all.

 

If you were a part of this in 2007, I don't need to tell you what a phenomenal day it was.

For those that were not a part of it, can I convince you to join us?

Watch the video in this thread (scroll up!), and mark your calendars.

It is going to be more of the same.

 

Volunteers last year included:

 

John Loebach

Steve Spizewski

Bill Chase

Jim Jozwiak

Pat Hirschtick

Ed Buric

Jude Torre

Steve Jordan

Matt Kunath

Ed Loch

Jim Mullany

Rich McElligott

Don Rego

Chris Barnes

Alan Kwik

Dan Basore

Mike Clifford

 

If you can return to help, or would like to be added to this list, please chime in!

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